As It Happens

Thanks to this blurb from, I am throwing As It Happens onto the blog barbie:

“Someday I think there will be a realization that the real story is more exciting than the cookie-cutter founder myth the media tries frame everything in. It’s not just one or two guys hacking on something alone, it’s dozens of people from across the world coming together because of a shared passion. It’s not about selling out to a single company, it’s dozens of companies independently adopting and backing an open source platform for no reason other than its quality. I’m not a millionaire, and may never be, but there are now hundreds of people making their living using WordPress, and I expect that number to grow to tens of thousands. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, not the prospect of becoming a feature on an Internet behemoth’s checklist.” — Matt Mullenweg, founder, WordPress

It’s ironic, actually, that an homage to collaboration would stir an inveterate individualist to start a blog. I think I am finally tossing out my belief that all good work comes from sitting alone in a room and thinking your own thoughts. And I should have known better. I couldn’t have written Summer Long-a-coming without the editorial eye of a woman named Carole Malkin, or without dozens of conversations about writing and literature with an old friend named Peter Wortsman. In fact, I attribute my long writing hiatus to having “over-privatized” my mind. It’s not as if I consciously set out to isolate myself from other writers. It just happened.

Maybe it had to. Most of my writing these days is for a very big IT company that underwrites my daily survival. Thanks to the paycheck I get every two weeks, I do not wake up in the middle of the night worrying about how to pay for the roof over my head. I don’t worry that I can’t afford the various generations of game platforms that my kid is addicted to.

But there’s a price to pay for working eight or nine hours a day and shoehorning your writing ambitions into the wee hours of the night or morning. You wake up one day and you’re talking to people about your commercial work, not about the novels, essays and plays that once dominated your thoughts. You have become one more person who had to “grow up.” Sometimes you don’t recognize yourself. I want to recognize myself again. So, I hereby announce my return to the playground.

In As It Happens, I am going to comment as I see fit on my life as a writer of novels, essays and plays, a corporate communications flack, a podcaster and book club leader. I don’t intend to worry about being a fool or a greybeard.



  1. Peter Wortsman said

    Hello, old friend,

    Funny to find your words and to commune electronically after such a long time. Narcissist that I am, I periodically search myself on google–which is actually how, on occasion, I’ve landed lectures and more. So here I find your moving mention of me. A Dank. Yes, it is really all about dialogue, not monologue. It’s all about a kind of intimacy established between a me and a you. Sometimes that you has a capital Y and is called prayer. And sometimes it’s an imagined entity, the ears of the world, we would like to think. But really it’s just a long ongoing schooze about everything and nothing with a good friend with whom one can let down one’s guard and be the sloppy soul one really is, mingling poetry with idle gossip, wisdom with nonsense, information with filler. It’s all about spinning a sentence, which is, after all, the signature of the soul.

    your friend,

  2. modestine said

    Hi Peter,
    How on earth did you find this link? I created this page several months ago, and then decided I didn’t want to write a blog that nobody would read.

    But things have changed quite a bit in the last few months.

    My writing dry spell, which endured nearly all the years I was primarily a mother, seems to have ended (I am throwing salt over my shoulder). I have written four plays of varying lengths, mostly since last April. I’m sending them around to contests and theaters with the hope that somebody will like at least one of them enough to produce it or stage a reading.

    Without having to worry all the time about my son, I find now that the “idea tap” is open again. I am starting to feel like the self I was in my ambitious twenties. I am relieved, to say the least. I thought that Barbara had done gone and died.

    Another funny thing happened: I transferred to the research area in the company and — gulp — I like my job. I’ve been put in charge of turning our dowdy websites into something called Web 2.0. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means. Hardly anybody does, even though people bandy the term about a lot. Basically I hope to turn the web site into a combination of Facebook+Wikipedia+Andrew Sullivan Blog+New York Times home page. This kind of work doesn’t siphon off my creative literary energy. It seems to feed it — and I use “feed” in its new web connotation: My web work acts like an umbilical cord to my imagination. I already have at least one idea for a new play.

    It’s exciting to meet you at the corner of Blog and Browser like this. I hope to hear what you’ve been working on too.

    By the way: I know you can appreciate contradiction and paradox, so I can tell you that, despite regaining my mind, I miss my son, who is studying abroad this year. And I miss my old, temporary, primary identity as his mother.

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